Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: KimodoDragon on June 24, 2013, 01:59:01 PM

Title: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: KimodoDragon on June 24, 2013, 01:59:01 PM
Just asking because I witnessed a situation this past weekend that just about floored me.

Here it is:

My cousin and I were out to dinner Friday evening at a crowded popular restaurant in our area.  We finished our meal, paid and went to the restroom on the way out.  The restroom is set up quite nice.  There is an anteroom before going into the actual room where the sinks and stalls are.  The anteroom has a couple couches and a full length mirror.  Outside the anteroom is a corner you turn and then you are in the main waiting area of the restaurant.

Cousin and I came out of the stalls and the line for the ladies restroom had grown, so much so that it snaked out the restroom, into the anteroom and almost to the corner where the main waiting area is.  Talk about timing!!  Also, the door to the anteroom was propped open by ladies waiting to use the facilities.  Apologies for the lengthy background, but want to give as much detail as possible.

So, we come out of our respective stalls, two other ladies go in.  Cousin and I go to the sinks to wash, then to the mirror to apply lip balm and make sure there are no food remnants in our teeth.  As cousin grabbed her handbag, a woman walks over to my cousin and loudly with laughter says, “GEEZ, WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR DINNER, ASPARAGUS?  YOUR FLOW IS MIGHTY STRONG!”  I almost choked!  All the ladies in the restroom had jaws on the floor.  One woman even covered her daughter’s ears.  It was awful!  My cousin was so embarrassed and so was I.  We hurriedly gathered our things and heard murmuring from others like, “how rude”, “she didn’t say that, did she”, oh my goodness”!!!  We got out of there as fast as we could.

When is it ever okay to call someone on their rude behavior?  Was this an instance that warrants it?  It was a terrible experience.

Thanks!
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: cwm on June 24, 2013, 02:02:15 PM
I don't know that I'd ever personally call someone out on their behavior unless I knew them, but that was over the top rude!  :o

Personally I'd give the offender an icy stare and turn crisply on my heels to walk away. (Thank you, marching band, for giving me that nice crisp turn.) Ignore it. Don't engage the crazy.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: WillyNilly on June 24, 2013, 02:03:40 PM
I think it would be ok to call someone out on that type of comment "who says things like that?" but I also think its silly - best to just give a cold stare then turn and walk away wordlessly - why drag out the interaction? What good would come of it? If it was a member of a dinner party crowd though - someone you would personally be spending more time with that evening though I think its ok to respond, even to straight up say "what a wholly inappropriate comment" in a neutral tone before turning to someone else and changing the topic of conversation.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: JoyinVirginia on June 24, 2013, 02:06:41 PM
Id vote don't engage the crazy. I do think ignoring her completely would be good. Either that or aging if she was drunk.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: sweetonsno on June 24, 2013, 02:28:31 PM
 :o

Wow. She was way off base, but I'm not sure I'd confront her. (The reactions from the other ladies are adequate.) Had she continued to make comments, then yes, I would have said something.

I can think of a few categories where I think it's fair to call someone out:
1. Ongoing rude behavior. If someone is behaving badly on an ongoing basis, call them out. Obviously, if nobody has bothered to tell them that their behavior is a problem, that's a first step. But if they know and they choose to continue being bad, call them on it.

2. Malicious rude behavior. Call bullies out.

3. Defending those who can't defend themselves. (In non-bullying cases.)  If you see someone being overly aggressive in his pursuit of a woman who clearly isn't interested, you're safe telling him to back off.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: sparksals on June 24, 2013, 02:30:51 PM
Was she saying your cousin took too long in the toilet or that her pee stunk?   Either way, she was horribly rude and I possibly would have been too shocked or aghast to answer... although I would have been thinking of retorts after the fact.

Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: Roe on June 24, 2013, 02:32:33 PM
I know most are going to say 'ignore and don't engage the crazy' and that's sensible advice, however, if this happened to my cousin, I would most certainly say something and it probably wouldn't be ehell approved.  I'm guessing the OP wants ideas that are ehell-approved. 
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on June 24, 2013, 02:53:09 PM
'Oh, and I suppose your [excrement] don't stink, either, huh?'  Or 'Wow.  You do realize you just said that out loud, right?'

OK, maybe not.  In this particular case, ignore the crazy.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: Allyson on June 24, 2013, 03:00:08 PM
Some people take pleasure in shocking/upsetting those around them, and then if you act shocked/upset will feel as though they have 'won'. I usually go for the blank stare, look totally dispassionate and bored, then walk away. A lot of these people are looking for a reaction, so don't give it to them. Also, looking confused sometimes works.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: CrazyDaffodilLady on June 24, 2013, 03:05:05 PM
Etiquette provides us with ways to respond to rudeness and inappropriate behavior without being rude in return, but still making our point quite clearly.

  - "How kind of you to take an interest."  (I love this one in this situation.)
  - The raised eyebrow and look of disbelief.
  - The startled sudden step away.
  - The icy glare of death. 
  - "I beg your pardon."
  - "You're inquiring about my urine???  It's fine. How is yours?"  (Okay, I made that one up.)
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: artk2002 on June 24, 2013, 03:34:15 PM
In general, only when the rudeness directly affects you. For instance, someone pushes you out of the way, you can speak up and call them on that. Or cuts in line ahead of you. I wouldn't bother with someone who lets loose with a loud comment like that.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: lakey on June 24, 2013, 03:45:17 PM
In this case it was apparently not necessary to say anything since others were already muttering about the rudeness.

Also, I tend to not engage with a stranger because they might react with even ruder, angry behavior.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: Amava on June 24, 2013, 03:55:25 PM
Some people take pleasure in shocking/upsetting those around them, and then if you act shocked/upset will feel as though they have 'won'. I usually go for the blank stare, look totally dispassionate and bored, then walk away. A lot of these people are looking for a reaction, so don't give it to them. Also, looking confused sometimes works.

I agree.
No need to "tell this person that she was rude". She knows. She's probably proud of it, too.

I'd just ignore. No good can come from engaging such a person. And it could easily escalate.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: Danika on June 24, 2013, 04:09:28 PM
I audibly gasped when I read her comment! Wow.

I would have been too shocked to say anything and would have just walked out. I agree with others who say "Don't engage the crazy."
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: *inviteseller on June 24, 2013, 06:08:48 PM
Wow!  I would have walked away fast.  There is no reply to that!
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: kherbert05 on June 24, 2013, 08:39:45 PM
In this case for you and your cousin looking the person up and down - Icy somewhat condescending stare (think pro league mean girl look that says who let this trash in here) turn heal and leave.


I think the bystanders' murmmers were great. If you had been a bystander and the woman continued and Icy - excuse me some of us are going back to finish our meals so stop. Followed by no really stop, no really stop, said in a combination icy mean girl with a hint of fed up teacher.


I think some types of rude behavior scream out to be called out - because people are being hurt. I will not stand by and let someone verbally abuse another person. To many people stood by and let me be bullied. I won't be that person.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: petal on June 25, 2013, 05:03:08 AM
its a toilet, its not supposed to smell like sunshine and daisies.   


the woman was rude.  i think i might have had a couple of things to say  but nothing really appropriate for an etiquette board
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: Winterlight on June 25, 2013, 10:50:01 AM
I vote for an icy stare and then ignoring her. I don't engage with rude perfect strangers- they've just proven how imperfect they are, and they may well get even stranger!
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: scotcat60 on June 25, 2013, 01:56:45 PM
This reminds me of an article by Cornelia Otis Skinner, who said she had a freind called Maybelle, ("of whom it could be said she was so honest it hurt") who looked at Cornelia one day when they were wearing swimming costumes and said "Goodness your chest is bony, it looks just like the slats of a Venetian blind"

I'm with the icy glare of death, and walk away.

Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: TylerBelle on June 25, 2013, 02:30:03 PM
I know as mentioned that it isn't good to engage the crazy, but sometimes there's the urge to return with the crazy yourself. Such as for this instance, a dream reply would be something like, (while leaning a little towards the woman and audibly sniffing), "Oh, you smell nice. We all should follow that example. Well, tootles!" And beat it out of there.

Seriously, I doubt I'd know what to say to something as what was said to your cousin. The icy glare and moving on is a good idea. I'm glad you received a back up of sorts by the others there.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: Jones on June 25, 2013, 02:44:23 PM
My first thought was, well, at least Cousin quietly expelled waste where it belonged, rather than loudly claiming someone else had left the smell...but saying such to Crazy Lady would have engaged the crazy.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: Coralreef on June 25, 2013, 03:48:17 PM
This is the type of situation where a spray bottle of water should be used (in my dream world anyway).  Some people should be treated like badly behaved pets. 

However, yeah, don't engage the crazy and perfect that icy stare. 

Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: Danika on June 25, 2013, 06:36:55 PM
In reality, I probably would have answered something like "Excuse me. What the $%&#!"

But I think a better answer would be "Where do you think you are? The perfume shop?"
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: gellchom on June 26, 2013, 06:19:45 PM
I have to agree that a blank, confused stare at most is usually second best to doing nothing.  If you're in a situation, like a conversation, where it seems to be expected that you will say something, the eHell recommended quiet "... Wow." is good.

Exception: as others have noted, if someone is being hurt or bullied and you can stop it, or if someone else has been targeted by a bigoted remark that needs to be addressed -- but even then, as calmly and politely as possible (you want to end the situation on a better note, not letting the cruelty be the last word, but you do want to END it, not ramp it up). 

In my experience, when someone says or does something so utterly over the top as this -- like, it takes a moment to register in your own mind, "Wow, she really did say that!" -- it's very often someone with dementia or some other psychiatric problem.  No point in confronting someone like that.

Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: CrazyDaffodilLady on June 26, 2013, 06:23:03 PM
This is one of those stories that becomes funnier as time goes by and provides continuing entertainment as you ponder the perfect response.

My current suggestion: "Asparagus?  No, I believe it was a Brussel sprouts casserole.  Would you like the recipe?"
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: gramma dishes on June 26, 2013, 09:46:35 PM
I think all the other ladies comments were all that were needed.  At least you and your friend know that everyone in the entire area knew she was totally out of line.

"Brain to mouth filter still at the shop?"
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: Marbles on June 26, 2013, 11:45:22 PM
A former colleague used to say "what's wrong with you?" when affronted. It isn't the best response, but I can see it coming out of my mouth on such an occasion.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: Yentush on June 27, 2013, 06:13:55 AM
Actually, that smell is the excrement coming out of your nasty mouth.  Have a nice day.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: Danika on June 27, 2013, 01:16:49 PM
Is it possible the woman was drunk? I can see a very inebriated person thinking out loud and saying something like that. In that case, it was best to ignore her and walk away.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: TootsNYC on June 28, 2013, 04:56:04 PM
The best, most devastating response is to laugh at her.

In that "we're the cool girls and you aren't" way.

Or, if you're the cool grownup, you smile indulgently and patronizingly.
Title: Re: When Is It Okay To Call Out A Rude Person? Ever?
Post by: Venus193 on June 28, 2013, 08:15:18 PM
This is one of those stories that becomes funnier as time goes by and provides continuing entertainment as you ponder the perfect response.

My current suggestion: "Asparagus?  No, I believe it was a Brussel sprouts casserole.  Would you like the recipe?"

My favorite snappy answer so far!

However, my response would be a variation of Allyson's.  I would give her a well-bred flat affect, followed by a raised eyebrow and a very proper "I beg your pardon" in a tone designed to make her dig herself in deeper.  It's a bit mean-spirited, but people like this usually only get broken of such behavior when they end up making world-class fools of themselves.